To be honest, I would say the task at hand is an impossible one. Just as impossible as it is to get everyone to agree on the definition of many other things.
The dictionary defines love as:
1) a feeling of warm, personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend. 2) a profound, tender, passionate affection for another person. 3) a sexual passion or desire.
I don't know about you, but for me, that doesn't quite cover it. In my experience, I have learned that everyone is walking around with a working definition of love. We have varied expectations for the love we receive and a host of ways that we express our love to others. The differences in these working definitions are innumerable. Yes, I think we can all agree that the elements in the definition above are often present in the love we give and receive. Yet, aren’t there countless other ways that love is experienced outside of what the dictionary so briefly describes?
In a conversation with my mother about my life, we discussed love languages. About 20 years ago, Gary Chapman wrote a book which lists 5 Love Languages. After reading about Chapman's love languages, I realized that I am one who shows love through touch and acts of service. Yup! That’s right! I'm touchy/feely/huggy kind of dude and I like to do things for the people I love. Some of us show love with our time or with our words. Chapman’s list, though good, is still limited. I can think of another 20 off the top of my head but this is a great place to start. Check it out! You may discover something about yourself.
One of the things I've realized about myself is that my love is eternal. Even through the worst of circumstances it is still there. It is truly unconditional. I sat and thought about that. I went through everyone I have ever loved. There isn't anyone that I do not still love. I'll talk more about what that really means in another post.
Why is it important for us to define love? I guess that depends on who you ask. In the past, I never felt the need to define or even explain love. Even after being asked countless times, "Why do you love me?" My default answer was, "Because I do." Talk about a useless response to a deep and meaningful question! Nowadays, I actually take the time to understand what it is that I love about a person and why.
It is important to define love mostly because two people with incompatible definitions of love will find themselves in a relationship that is riddled with turmoil and cursing love and all that it has to offer. I say this from experience. Do the work to get to heart of how a relationship serves you. Ask yourself the questions that lead you to a deeper understanding of why you are/where you are/ loving who you love. Be intentional in your discovery.
Don't get me wrong, I am no love guru. I am just a man who has loved and lost/ and loved and let go/ and loved again and again. I am only here to share that part of me with you.
Love them as they are, have amazing sex, and communicate with intention.